Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hate Makes a Bad Master

The news in America is hard to hear these days, and one sees others differently.

We all feel hatred from time to time, and probably that's as it should be. Sometimes it may even be a good. Surely it is good to hate injustice. Surely it is good to hate the wrong. Perhaps—the voices of the ancestors do not speak unanimously here—there are even times when it is right to hate other people.

But the ancestors never numbered hatred among the virtues. Love, however, is counted so. It is virtuous to love. To hate, though—appropriate though it may be—can never be a virtue.

While a virtue, though, love remains, in and of itself, insufficient. Love is not all we need. One virtue can never be enough; we need them all. To give away everything that one owns may be exemplary Generosity, but when one's family starves because of it, we have thereby acted unvirtuously because we have failed in Responsibility. Not to mention Love.

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Leaving a Legacy: Winter Solstice

 

Sun and then rain and then sun and then rain. Everything is beautiful, fresh and green after a relatively dry June - the rain has finally come. Flocks of white sulfur-crested cockatoos careen in the morning shower, revelling in the morning light as the sun glints off their plumage. As the sun breaks through again, the breeze stirs the branches of the eucalypts causing heavy drops to shower down like diamonds. My tabby cat carefully pads his way through the weeds of my front garden, stopping to sniff a long green tendril and his coat shivers when the droplets leftover from the latest shower dribble onto his back. 

 

This is winter solstice in Australia. Or one version of it, anyway. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_summer-school.jpgThis is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” ~ Walt Whitman

Astrologers call the chart of the Summer Solstice the “Cancer ingress chart”, and it is one of four cardinal ingress charts we look at every year. These charts mark powerful times in the turning of the cosmic wheel — when Sun enters zero degrees of one of the four signs in the cardinal modality  — and are considered predictive for anytime from 3 months to one year ahead, depending on technicalities I won’t bore you with. Personally, I see all these predictive charts as successive waves of influence, and so, for instance, the waves of the latest New Moon chart, of the last Lunar Eclipse, of the recent Solar Eclipse and Aries ingress chart, are all breaking on or close to shore right now, creating patterns in the shifting, tide-washed sands of our personal lives and our society.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cabalistic Cross, Corrected

Now, I'm neither a Cabalist nor a Ceremonial Magician, but I do speak Hebrew, and I can tell you this much: the Cabalistic Cross, as it has come down from the Golden Dawn, was clearly put together by someone with only the most superficial knowledge of the language. In fact, it's just plain wrong.

Ateh Malkuth ve-Geburah ve-Gedulah, le-Olahm. Amen.

This is supposed to mean (it's the tag-line of the "Our Father" prayer): "For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen."

But it doesn't.

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We Are Charleston

Often it is painful for me to attend a ceremony in a Christian church. I don't feel safe most of the time and rarely feel included. Certainly there are some notable exceptions to this, but it is too often true. Today at noon, at the AME church in downtown Asheville, there was a service to honor the people who were killed at "Mother" Emanuel AME in Charleston.

I told myself this morning that my attendance--my considered presence--at the noon service was something I needed and representing them was something my community needed. So I sat with an extraordinary group of colleagues in the choir pews at St James AME, Episcopalians, UUs, Baptists. And I looked out over the anguished faces of friends who had brought their grief and fear to this service, to sit with others in the pain and wonder of what had happened.

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Summer Solstice-Yoga-Kirtan Party


Summer Solstice is traditionally one of the most festive of the Pagan/Wiccan Sabbats of the year. What better way to celebrate than with some Sun Salutations and joyous chants? Depending on whether you have your most energy at sunrise or sunset, plan your party according to your own natural rhythm. Invite your fitness-buff friends. Have everyone bring a yoga mat, lounge-worthy apparel and a healthy snack to share. Lead them through a series of easy postures, including Prayer Pose and Raised Arm Pose. There are some good ideas and tips courtesy of
http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/health-and-wellness/sun-salutation-for-beginners

If you are able to do these outside in your backyard, all the better. If nothing else, open all the windows and let the sunshine in. Be sure to keep you and your guests hydrated with some Sun Tea. If having a morning party, prepare the tea the day before. If holding at sunset, you can start your tea the day of! And the recipe is:

(Adapted from Chef Garlic, food.com)
Serves 16
4 family-size tea bags (I know some people prefer one brand over the other, so you can decide which you prefer)
1 1⁄4 cups sugar or sugar substitute to taste
water, to fill container
lemon wedge, for garnish
1 gallon container or jug, with a screw on lid.
     About 9 a.m., fill your pitcher with the water, and tea bags.
(The reason for the screw on top, is so that ants don't get to the tea.) Let the tea sit in the sun for most of the day, a prime full sun location is best. In the summer, the heat from outside can be enough to dissolve the sugar later.
     When done heating, combine the sugar, tea, and more water to make one gallon.
     Serve with thick 1 1/2" wedges of lemon. It usually takes 4-6 hours of being in the sun in order to steep. You can eyeball the tea and bring it in, after the tea looks dark enough.
     Since the tea is best served cold, put it in the fridge right away. It does not last as long as boiled tea for some reason, and I usually leave the tea bags in the jug until the tea is gone. Then, I take the tea bags and sprinkle them in my flower garden, or over my roses.

A rousingly energetic series of Kirtan chants can be shared on the wah! Loops N Grooves recording. A sampling of this inspiring music can be found at http://www.wahmusic.com/music_loopsngrooves.php

Typically Kirtan is a call/response effort, but with this recording you could sing along, dance, or do whatever moves you. When everyone has reached a sufficient state of bliss, sit down and feast! Blessed be and namaste.

For a list of common Kirtan chant lyrics that you could print out copies of:
http://www.kirtancommunity.com/html/kirtan_chant_lyrics.html
For more info about Kirtan:
http://newworldkirtan.com/what-is-kirtan/
Photo by ponsuwan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net



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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Pouring to Thunder

Yikes! Pagan Spirit Gathering 2015 canceled in mid-run due to flooding and rainstorms past and predicted.

What's a pagan response? On the immemorial principle of do ut des, a gift for a gift, perhaps we need to begin our outdoor gatherings with an offering to the god concerned.

Well, you know gods. The answer may still be “no.”

But it never hurts to ask.

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